Is Remote Working a Huge Mistake for Your Company?

By: Rebecca Connolly
10/07/2019

As of 2018, 63% of companies have full-time employees who work outside of the office. With a combination of those working from home and some in shared coworking spaces, it may be a good opportunity to review the impact of remote working and coworking for a company’s business model.

Challenges

  • Communication with clients and coworkers is complicated with remote working. Even with advanced conference technology, remote working nearly eliminates face-to-face conversations that offer important body language indicators and general “feels” when attempting to make a deal. Additionally, humans are social creatures by nature and remote working can cause social isolation over an extended period time. Solutions are to invest in a coworking space but that may defeat the purpose of cutting costs.
  • Although some distractions are reduced while remote working, new distractions can pull attention away from your computer like laundry, dishes, or Netflix. The lack of structure and looking-over-shoulders makes focusing more of a challenge than if you were on an in-house team.
  • Working remotely or in a coworking space can often remove the “team bond” that an office creates amongst employees by eliminating team-building activities that are intended to build a strong company culture. A strong company culture with happy employees can increase revenue by 33% according to Gallup

Risking productivity and employee experience with the implementation of remote working or coworking can be potentially hazardous for a company’s workforce. Is remote working worth the price of communication challenges or lack of team morale?

Benefits

  • Savings in overhead costs for a company is the most obvious advantage to remote working. Think about all of your everyday office expenses: wifi, utilities, office supplies, coffee, rental costs, etc. These extra costs could instead spent more wisely to improve revenue, employee experience, or training.
  • If working from home or locally, remote employees benefit from reduced commuting times and therefore reduced commuting costs. A recent employee survey from Robert Half shared that 23% of employees from 2,300 workers said they left a job because of a bad commute. 
  • The opportunity to have increased flexible work schedule can improve an employees work/life balance. A survey from Hubspot revealed that 53% of survey takers want flexible hours for an employee benefit over a competitive salary.
  • Increases in happiness and morale is said to result from remote working which then improves employee retention.  Both improvements in commute and flexible work schedules are key in improving employee retention according to the Hubspot survey.
  • The Chinese travel company, Ctrip, “found a productivity boost among telecommuters equivalent to a full day’s work” and 77% of full-time employees in a Connect Solutions study said they were more productive when working remotely. Some of the reasons for improvement in productivity for remote employees is reduced need for time off, reduction in stress, and lack of office-distractions. 

      With coworking spaces now being labeled as “the new water cooler”, is coworking or remote working the best approach to improve your overall business plan? Do the challenges outweigh the benefits?  

Suggested reading: Why Companies like Microsoft Use Coworking Spaces

Join the conversation at Future Offices Winter where we will discuss coworking as part of the Workplace track! Take a look at our agenda for more details.